CEX.IO Review: Is CEX.IO a Safe Method of Buying Cryptocurrency?

With huge gains in price, Bitcoin and Ethereum have been rapidly gaining exposure over the last year.  This has left many cryptocurrency newcomers looking for a safe and beginner friendly method of buying these cryptocurrencies.

CEX.IO has been a well trusted name in the cryptocurrency community since 2013.  In this CEX.IO Review, we’ll show you why we’ve ranked them as one of our top options.  We’ll also aim to answer all the questions you have about this cryptocurrency buying option.

You can jump to any portion of this CEX.IO review, by clicking the following links:

CEX.IO Review Key Information

CEX.IO has been a well trusted name in the cryptocurrency community since 2013.  Based out of London, the company initially launched as both a Bitcoin exchange and cloud mining service.

2016 was a huge year for the company, with them making a variety of changes to their offerings.  The first big news, was the addition of Ethereum to their exchange.  CEX.IO then added easy buy and sell methods to users, to create a more beginner friendly product.  They also closed their mining pool, to focus their efforts on their exchange.

CEX.IO allows users to buy and sell Bitcoin and Ethereum, using bank transfers and credit cards.  Because they comply with all laws and regulations, in the jurisdictions that they operate, users will need to verify their accounts.  Similar verification processes are required from all legitimate cryptocurrency sites, that deal in fiat currencies (USD, EUR, etc).

Key Information
Rating 4.6
Site Type Easy Buy and Sell Methods & Exchange
Beginner Friendly?
Location of Company London, United Kingdom
Available Cryptocurrencies Ethereum, Bitcoin
Buy Methods Credit Card, Bank Transfer
Sell Methods Credit Card, Bank Transfer
Trustworthiness Excellent
Security Excellent
Customer Support Great
Site Visit CEX.IO

Is CEX.IO Safe?

Safety is likely the most common concern, of users reading this CEX.IO review.  To fully answer this question, we’ve broken it down into 3 parts, to look at specific safety issues:

  • Licensed and Regulated
  • Safety of Customer Funds
  • Personal Account Security Measures

Licensed and Regulated

As mentioned above, CEX.IO complies with the laws and regulations of each jurisdiction, where they operate.  This is important to ensure the company is able to continue operating, without the risk of being shut down by any government agency.

Here are some examples of the laws, regulations, and governing bodies that CEX.IO complies with:

  • Incorporated as a private limited company in the United Kingdom.
  • FinCEN registered.
  • Accredited by the Payment Card Industry Standards Council as a qualified Security Assessor Company.
  • Registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office of the United Kingdom.

You can find more information on their sites “Legal & Security” page.

Safety of Customer Funds

There’s 2 crucial procedures we look at, when evaluating the security of customer funds on exchanges.

1) Exchanges should store the majority of their customers’ cryptocurrency funds in secure offline cold storage.  By limiting the amount stored in online “hot wallets”, a successful hack wouldn’t be able to steal too large a portion of funds held by an exchange.  CEX.IO does claim to keep some amount of funds in cold storage, although we could not find any specific details about this on their website.  The only information we found about this, is shown in the below image.

2) Exchanges should keep customer funds segregated from company operational funds.  Unfortunately, we were unable to find anything stating this on CEX.IO’s website.

While CEX.IO could follow the best practices mentioned above, there’s no information regarding this on their site.  Regardless, the lack of transparency in not outlining these practices, is a negative.  We’d like it if they were more transparent, like their competitor Coinbase.  Coinbase firmly states that they segregate funds and gives more detail on their cold storage procedures.

Personal Account Security Measures

CEX.IO takes personal account security very seriously.  When creating an account, they quickly suggest taking advantage of the 2-factor authentication options they offer.  These options include SMS text/phone calls or Google Authenticator.

Additionally, they allow you to easily monitor account activity.  Emails are sent whenever a login to your account occurs.  You can also monitor all past activity, while logged into your account.

How to Easily Buy Cryptocurrency With CEX.IO

1) The first step is to register and create an account.  You can do this via the register button, in the upper right-hand corner.  The steps to register are easy to follow and self-explanatory.

cex.io register

2) During the registration process, you will be prompted to set up 2-factor authentication (as previously mentioned).  We highly recommend you set this up.

3) Verify your account.  As mentioned throughout this CEX.IO review, you are required to verify your identity, so that the company can comply with all laws and regulations.  The verification process varies by country, but here are some examples of the information that may be required, to verify your account:

  • Full Name
  • Address
  • Picture of ID
  • Proof of Address Document
  • Selfie with Credit Card

This verification process is similar to what you can expect from any legitimate company, that allows you to buy cryptocurrency with fiat currency (USD, EUR, etc).  In our personal experience, CEX.IO has processed verification requests very quickly.

4) Fund Your Account.  When your account is verified, you can fund your account via Credit Card or Bank Transfer.  Credit Cards may be a faster method for funding your account, although they come with additional fees.  Bank transfer time varies, but in our experience, it took 1-3 days.

5) Buy Bitcoin and/or Ethereum.  Once your account is verified and funded, you can then buy cryptocurrency.  CEX.IO’s easy buy method uses “Fill-or-Kill” orders to guarantee prices.  You can learn more about this process from this screenshot from their site.

Visit CEX.IO

Buy and Sell Method Fees

On CEX.IO, you can use credit cards and bank transfers, to both buy and sell.  Fees may vary by country, but below shows the fees you’ll most likely be facing:

  • 7% to buy Bitcoins or Ethereum, with an additional 3.5% when you use a credit card to fund your account.
  • 7% to sell Bitcoin or Etheruem.  $50 fee when using bank transfer, $3.8 fee when using a Visa credit card, and $3.8 + 1.2% when using a Mastercard.

Below you can compare their fees with other simple buy options.  Coinbase will save you a good amount on fees, if you’re in one of their supported countries.

Site Estimated Fees When Buy With Credit/Debit Card Estimated Fees When Buy With Bank Transfer Rating Review

Visit Coinbase
~ 3.99% ~1.49% 4.8 Coinbase Review
cex.io logo
Visit CEX.IO
~11.5%

(3.5% Credit Card Fee + 7% Buy Fee)

~7% 4.6 CEX.IO Review
~11.75 %

(5% Credit Card Fee + 6.75% Buy Fee)

~6.75% Not

Recommended

N/A

Supported Countries

As of writing this review, CEX.IO supports all countries, unless outlined below.

The following countries are restricted from depositing with Credit Cards:

Iceland, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Vietnam, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Iraq

The following countries are restricted from depositing via Bank Transfer:

Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Guinea, São Tomé and Príncipe, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkey, Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe, Nigeria.

Additionally, some of the United States may be restricted.

Customer Support

Customer support is a huge issue right now for cryptocurrency companies.  With the rapid increase in demand for buying cryptocurrency, most companies have struggled to maintain good customer support.

CEX.IO offers support primarily through email.  In our experience, their customer support has been better than most companies in the industry.  We’ve typically received responses within 24-48 hours.

CEX.IO Review Summary

After fully reviewing CEX.IO, we think it’s a good place to buy cryptocurrency, but not the best.

The positives of this company are their reputation in the community and their beginner freindliness.

The downside to using CEX.IO is the high fees and slight lack of transparency.  If you’re looking for a beginner friendly method to buy cryptocurrency, Coinbase has lower fees and has been more upfront about how they manage their funds.  For those of you in a location not served by Coinbase, CEX.IO is our top recommended option.

CEX.IO Review
  • Beginner Friendliness
  • Community Sentiment
  • Customer Service
  • Transparency
  • Purchasing Limits
  • Payment Methods
4.6

Summary

CEX.IO is well trusted in the community and a great beginner friendly option, for buying cryptocurrency. However, their fees are higher than some competitors.

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